E-Commerce Platform Selection – Painting by Numbers - Page 3

By Eric Wiley (Profile)
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Tuesday, May 29th 2012
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What Are Your Brand Goals and Organization Goals?

The goals of your business must allow for a smooth transition into management of a digital channel or e-commerce platform. If your brand is moving into a niche market or is entering a vertical that does not lend itself to online sales, your mid- to long-term goals for your platform may already be compromised. Be cognizant of the larger desires of the brand and assess if your organization will be stable enough to establish a consistent digital infrastructure over the span of several years, as any platform, after implementation, will take time to be fully leveraged by your team. This adoption process could take months depending on the complexity of the systems involved. Join the e-commerce goals to the general organizational strategy discussion and you’ll see enormous benefits in all aspects of planning.

What Platform Conclusions Can Be Drawn from Understanding Organizational Goals?

Organization size and budget notwithstanding, the three-year expected transaction growth and the overall commitment of an organization to the success of the digital channel dictate a great deal about your platform selection. If an organization isn’t committed to a digital channel, a SAAS e-commerce platform is most logical where minimal management can still provide maximum payoff. For organizations with strategies centering on maximum growth potential and maximum marketing/content/e-commerce customization, either Open Source or Managed platforms will provide the most punch, as internal organizational forces will drive considerable development into these platforms.

Examine Your Organization’s Capabilities

After strategic goals are developed, reviewing a snapshot of your current organizational state can help decide the type of e-commerce platform on which to base your digital channel.

What Is Your Organization Good At?

Your choice of tech stack and the features it represents should complement your organization’s existing skill set or bolster areas where you are deficient. As an example, extraordinarily deep CRM tools within an e-commerce platform may not pay off for companies without a long history of customer service. Similarly, an extensive workflow feature-set won’t aid a team without existing operational procedures in place. Understanding your organization’s culture can help identify important features or differentiators in rival e-commerce platforms.

What Typical E-commerce Leadership Roles Are Present In Your Organization?

A mature e-commerce site requires many different skill sets. Examine the team with which you plan to select, implement, and operate your website. Though many roles exist in e-commerce, the most pivotal for your success are those of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), an E-Commerce Director or Manager, and a technology specialist. Any of the aforementioned roles could be either a single person or a large team, depending on your organizational reality. Your CMO must be able to push your brand digitally. The E-Commerce Director must be web savvy and able to grasp the big picture both strategically and tactically. Your technology specialist must be able to fully support your infrastructure and plan for its long-term growth. Without a clear understanding of the division of labor and who is leading CMS, catalog, CRM, and OMS on the website, your technology may work against you, not for you. Predetermine your full e-commerce management team on paper and determine how that division of labor is expressed in all platforms under consideration. Afterward, understanding the breadth of your team, determine executive/managerial accountability and goals for that team.